The Top 5 ways to assess Lab equipment and instruments before you buy

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The Top 5 ways to assess Lab equipment and instruments before you buy
If you're looking at new lab equipment or instruments, you will probably shop around and research the options before you buy. But how can you get a more in depth feel for the products before you buy? Jumping straight to a live demo of the equipment is not always the best way - this can delay the process if you need to wait for an appointment, so there could be faster ways of getting the information you need. Here are our top 5 methods for investigating lab equipment before you buy, to make sure your next purchase is one you're 100% happy with.

1 - Videos

youtubeOften easier to digest than lengthy brochures, more and more suppliers are creating videos to showcase their equipment. As well as glossy advertising videos, look out for tutorials which go through the practical steps of running a test, programming or calibrating. Some of our favourite channels with a good mixture of "show" videos and instructional videos are;
  • Memmert - laboratory ovens, incubators and climate chambers
  • Cole-Parmer Europe - formerly Bibby Scientific, covering the Jenway, Techne, Stuart, Electrothermal and PCRmax brands for a wide range of general use lab equipment
  • TRUEscience - smart pH meter (with conductivity, DO, ISE abilities coming soon)
  • Omni Homogenisers - handheld and benchtop homogenisers
Or simply search the instrument make and model on to see what is available.  

2 - Product Reviews

4.5Reviews are no longer restricted to personal purchases, more and more lab suppliers are adding review systems so you can see honest feedback from other people who have bought the same equipment. Look out for reviews on the item web page, or simply search the make and model plus "reviews" to see if other websites or independent users have evaluated the item.  

3 - Ask the supplier

webchat.image_.2015If you haven't found the information you need yet, just ask! Most lab equipment suppliers have a range of ways you can contact them - phone, email, web chat, information request forms or arranging a face to face meeting - so you can choose whatever method is most convenient. Engaging with the seller is also a great way of finding out how approachable they are to work with, which might also influence your decision.  

4 - Simulators and apps

More unusual, but growing in popularity - some lab equipment now offer simulators online. These act like a copy of the interface so you can "use" one remotely - like this online simulation of the Jenway 7200 spectrophotometer interface. Look out for links to simulators on the product web page or brochure. We haven't seen many of these but predict they will grow in popularity as a remote "try before you buy" solution.  

5 - Ask for a Demo

If you haven't been able to answer your questions by the methods above, ask if a demo is possible. This may not be available on everything, but suppliers can usually demonstrate their most popular products. handshakeSome suppliers make this really easy with demo request forms, but ask on the phone or by email if you can't see this offered. If the unit you're looking at is too large to come to you (for example a fume hood or a large oven or incubator) you may still be able to go to it; many suppliers have demo labs or show labs set up at their site which you can visit. Before arranging any demo you should think about what you need to ask, and if you could get this information any other way. If you simply need dimensions or to confirm one question it would be much faster to check the brochure or ask the supplier. Go in to your demo with a list of questions so you remember to cover everything you need on the day. Consider sending this to the supplier ahead of the demo too, so they can make sure they have the answers you need easily to hand.   To find out more about how Camlab can answer your questions about lab equipment and instruments, follow the links above, check out our other blog posts, or contact us with the form below;  
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Johnny McCarron
I like your idea of checking for reviews on a web page. Getting good quality lab equipment is of utmost importance. Beyond that, if I'd ever need lab equipment to be repaired or maintained, I hope I'd find a good reputable company to come help me out.
Jenna Hunter
It was interesting to learn about how one should ask the supplier for information that they don't have and can see how approachable and easy they are to work with. I can see how it could be really helpful for someone to make sure that they have the right equipment that will be able to help them do their jobs more efficiently. Making sure that the machines work correctly could be best when done by a professional and allow them to work better.